News: Let's Remember Billy Preston
Singer Billy Preston, whose keyboard wizardry led to stints with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones before scoring such solo hits as "Outta Space" and "Nothing From Nothing, died Tuesday at the age of 59.
Preston had been in a coma since November, according to his longtime manager, Joyce Moore. He was rushed to a hospital in Scottsdale Saturday after his condition had deteriorated.
"He had a very, very beautiful last few hours and a really beautiful passing," Moore told the Associated Press by telephone from Germany. "He went home good."
Preston had been on dialysis treatments ever since his 2002 kidney transplant to address his chronic kidney failure, Moore said earlier this year.
The Houston, Texas native, a teen prodigy on the piano and organ, worked with such artists as Sam Cooke, Eric Clapton, Sammy Davis Jr., Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and the Jackson 5. But he was best known for his collaborations with The Beatles.
Nicknamed the fifth Beatle, Preston contributed his gospel-flavored talent to the Fab Four's "Get Back" and the Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking?" He played on the Beatles' 1970 album "Let It Be" and on the songs "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and "Something," from 1969's "Abbey Road."
Signed to the Beatles' Apple label in 1969, his solo career took off the following decade with such hits as "Outta Space," which earned a Grammy in 1973, "Will It Go 'Round In Circles," "Nothing From Nothing" and "With You I'm Born Again," a duet with Syreeta Wright.
In the past year, Preston contributed to the recently-released album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Stadium Arcadium." Although seriously ill, he heard a scratch tape of the song "Warlocks," given to him by the band for consideration, and reportedly jumped out of bed to record his part before going right back to bed. His final work was playing organ on the new "Neil Diamond" album, "12 Songs."